On the Small Things Considered blog, Michael Schmidt, Professor and Vice Chairman of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, reviews a recent paper entitled "Precise Manipulation of Chromosomes in Vivo Enables Genome-Wide Codon Replacement" by Church and colleagues that was published in Science and asks will the techniques described in this research allow scientists to take big leaps in the large-scale assembly of modified genomes?
"Every now and then you come across an article that makes you sit back and hear yourself say Wow! This is what happened to me recently while preparing to discuss a paper on This Week in Microbiology (TWiM), a bi-weekly podcast produced by Vincent Racaniello and ASM, or as I think of it, a journal club open to any who are curious about all aspects of microbiology. The paper by Church and colleagues, published in Science, describes the precise manipulation of bacterial chromosomal sequences on a genome-wide scale. Titles matter, and this one, Precise Manipulation of Chromosomes in Vivo Enables Genome-Wide Codon Replacement, spoke volumes. Before even reading the abstract, it caused me to ask, Have these authors found the Holy Grail that synthetic biologists have been searching for? I’ll let you be the judge as I take you through the world of Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering (MAGE) and Conjugative Assembly Genome Engineering (CAGE)."